Just Die Already critical
Just Die already is described as a “ sandbox for the elderly ” and is the idea of Armin Ibrisagic at DoubleMoose Games, who was originally the designer of Goat Simulator. The spectacularly bizarre nature of Just Die Already makes a little more sense now, doesn’t it? For this reason, we nicely called the game “ Old Person Simulator ” when we discuss it in the office. That being said, “simulator” probably isn’t the best way to describe it, unless you know a lot of PAOs who willfully put themselves in danger of death to get a room in a nursing home. Come to think of it, my grandfather tried paragliding in his 70s… that’s a story for another day, though.
Today’s story is of a lovely retiree who is evicted from his nursing home for upsetting all residents, and what follows is utter carnage. Once you have chosen your OAP and then been kicked out of the house, you are immersed in a full sandbox experience. You are given a list of to-dos, which vary from the bizarre to the absurd. My time has been spent doing some of the strangest things I think I’ve ever experienced in a game, like flying with fire extinguishers (which I don’t recommend as the safest mode of transportation), seeing how many mines I could bounce . before being crushed to pieces, by fighting a group of master kung fu gardeners with the help of a big trout, and therefore, much more. Of course, performing stunts like this is not without its risks, and dismemberment is an extremely regular occurrence. I spent a lot of time like nothing more than a basin, rolling around town like a tiny piece of sensitive flesh. Once you’re dead, you miraculously reappear in a dumpster (due to video games) and can go looking for the next weird thing you like.
Almost everything in the game is interactive, letting you play around with anything you can get your hands on wrinkled with … provided you haven’t cut them already, that is. Catching a pedestrian and dragging him across the road so you can master a speeding car is a pretty satisfying experience. The characters’ ragdoll mechanics add a bit more to that experience as the pedestrian transforms into what can only be described as a human plague, shattering whatever you pass. It’s a lot of fun: silly, but fun nonetheless. The ragdoll mechanic is the same as in Goat Simulator, so pressing B sees your retiree collapsing to the ground like a deflated pool float. It would be a lie if I said I hadn’t ‘fallen’ off the side of a building to see how many things I could hit on the way down, watching an arm fly off in one direction and my head disappear in an other. But that’s precisely what DoubleMoose encourages you to do in Just Die Already – experiment with the world and see what kind of punishment your retiree can withstand.
The game world is divided into different areas, each offering its own environment and challenges to complete via its tab in your Bucket List. The main area of town is set in the middle and is surrounded by smaller areas that range from a sports field to a country park that features sheep in a minefield (obviously). Each area is unique and gives you access to another crazy set of activities, challenges, and puzzles. I found out that most of my time was spent in the city, avoiding crazy drivers as I tried to find a way to remove an activity from my list.
The whole game really is a playground, allowing you to participate in pretty much anything you want to try. The Bucket List prompts you to explore the world and enjoy the delightfully chaotic activities it offers. As a success hunter, I have found the Bucket List to be a welcome addition, and since the majority of achievements are Bucket List related, it will certainly present a challenge. I didn’t have access to the list of achievements while playing the game for this review, but now that the game is out I can tell it’s a pretty straightforward ending. Well, not for the first few players, but once the guides start appearing for each challenge in the Bucket List, the rest of the players will hover over it. The one that’s going to catch you the most is Pro Baller, who tasks you with scoring 10 basketball shots without missing. If you’re familiar with physics-based games, you’ll know how hard it is to achieve, especially when your retiree throws in like he’s slathered on way too much prescription medication and washed it all down with a few pints. . . I was not at all surprised to see it implemented. After all, Goat Simulator had the dreaded Flapmaster feat, which caused me to run out of curse words and develop mine just to have something else to shout. These challenges kept me busy for a while each night, I started it up to play, but struggled to invest for more than two hours at a time.
This is where I struggled the most during my time with the game. Once the novelty of fatally injuring my character quickly wore off in a game session, the continuing mayhem of my dear old man became a problem. little obsolete. I had to take a break and come back the next evening, which would hold my attention for an hour or two before I felt like a break. But that’s what this kind of game is for – a few hours of insane fun in an open world filled with possibilities, and a list of crazy challenges to complete along the way if you feel like it. It’s a welcome break from the more sane games I usually play, ticking all the right boxes for an enjoyable adventure. Co-op play is where Just Die Already will shine, I think. The potential for chaos with a group of buddies is a huge draw for me, and one that I intend to return to participate in.
Just Die Deja is a game that gives you a few hours of respite from other more serious experiences, giving you the reins and prompting you to experiment with whatever ridiculous ideas you can think of. It’s fantastic fun in short bursts, silly, but well structured enough to give you a challenge if that’s what you’re after. I would recommend picking up some buddies and seeing what chaotic feats you can pull off. It’s definitely worth the time – especially at the price of the game – although it’s not the kind of thing you can sit and play for hours at a time.